A compendium of silly, gross, or otherwise oddball dilemmas to solve.
Taking the premise of John Burningham’s storytime standby Would You Rather? (1978) and running a long, long way with it, Snider offers over 200 posers along the lines of: “Would you rather lick a stranger…or…eat a cup of spider eggs?” Though some of the decision-making might actually be pragmatic (“Would you rather play a crazy prank on your MOM…or…play a crazy prank on your DAD?”), the author mostly goes for the “Eeeeew!” response. Low-rent graphics, varying little from page to unnumbered page, feature the two alternatives placed as if bursting through ruled-paper backgrounds, with occasional cutout photos of an animal or food product alongside. Arranged, if that’s the word, for random dipping, the choices come in no particular sequence or thematic progression, and repetitive scenarios are fairly common. Young browsers who find the more-directed options offered in Joan Axelrod-Contrada’s This or That Animal Debate (2013) and the many like compendia too sedate or worthy of serious consideration may be happy mulling over whether it would be preferable to “stick your hand in a clogged toilet” or “up the butt of a moose,” to “burp your ABCs” or “fart 10 times in a row.” Maybe.
This is Book 1. One is more than enough for just about anybody, but Book 2 is available for the very, very avid.
Beginning with the emigration of Jorge’s grandparents from Italy to Argentina, this biography traces Bergoglio’s life, concluding with his attendance at World Youth Day in July 2013, as Pope Francis.
This is a much more personal biography (meant for a slightly younger audience) than Pope Francis by Stephanie Watson (2013). Only briefly mentioning Argentina’s “Dirty War” and entirely leaving out the scandals of the Catholic Church and the more publicized examples of Bergoglio’s humility, Monge and Wolfe focus instead on the experiences that shaped Bergoglio’s faith and led him to the priesthood. The text’s lack of a bibliography may lead readers (or their parents) to wonder how the more intimate details of Bergoglio’s life were uncovered, especially with regard to the rather stilted and unnatural-sounding dialogue and internal monologues. Simple, short sentences make this accessible for young readers, though more contextual definitions (or a glossary) would have been helpful, especially for those unfamiliar with the Catholic faith. Also, commas that could help young readers with comprehension are frequently missing, and there are some awkward sentence constructions: “There was always studying or homework to do for school, or help needed around the house.” Kizlauskas’ illustrations are quite realistic looking (if stiff), though they do not always appear on the same spread as the text that accompanies them.
Though this has more of a religious bent than most biographies, children should gain an understanding of the new pope as a person.
A playful introduction to bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae, archaea, and protozoa.
Readers are going to need a basic grounding in cytology from the start, as Gallagher drops such terms as “nucleus” and “organelles” into the discourse without defining them and rushes past plasmids without explaining what they are or do. Likewise, though she fits out all of the jelly-bean–like cells and microbes in her lighthearted illustrations with expressive faces—not to mention occasional limbs, fashion accessories, and hair—she rarely includes recognizable biological components. She’s not particularly systematic either, as she mentions four major components of the human immune system but goes on to describe only two. More usefully, along with frequent mentions of how ubiquitous microbes are, her main focus seems to be laying out microbial types and subtypes, from the five shape-related groups of bacteria to the even more ancient archaea (Crenarchaeota, Euryarchaeota, and Korarchaeota), and describing their individual distinctions and how they reproduce. Polysyllabic as some of this content is, the breezy presentation should impart to general students, as well as budding microbiologists, a nodding acquaintance with our single-celled neighbors and residents.
Scanty for a stand-alone guide but definitely a vocabulary enricher.